6 December 2004 – LAWFUEL – First for law news – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Charlie Crist, Attorney General for the State of Florida; and Robert J. Joura, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, announced today the unsealing of an Indictment returned recently by a federal grand jury sitting in Miami, Florida, charging a Miami-area physician for illegally distributing OxyContin and other controlled substances to Medicaid patients and the arrest of the physician and his medical assistant.
The fifteen (15) count Indictment charges defendant, Armando J. Solis, M.D., with one (1) count of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its administration of Medicaid, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; one (1) count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; and thirteen (13) counts of distributing controlled substances, ten (10) of which allege violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C), and three (3) of which allege violations Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(2). The Indictment also charges defendant, Harold Fox, who served as Solis’ medical assistant, in the two (2) conspiracies and eleven (11) of the substantive counts.
If convicted on the drug distribution conspiracy count, each defendant faces a maximum statutory term of twenty (20) years’ imprisonment. If convicted on the fraud conspiracy count, each defendant faces a maximum statutory term of five (5) years’ imprisonment. The drug distribution charges each carry a maximum statutory term of twenty (20) or three (3) years’ imprisonment, depending on the type of controlled substance that was distributed.
According to the Indictment, from approximately June 2003 to the present, Solis and Fox conspired to prepare and issue prescriptions to Medicaid patients for controlled substances in a manner that was outside the course of professional practice and without properly determining the medical necessity for the prescriptions. The Indictment describes three (3) transactions in June and October of 2004, where Solis signed prescriptions for OxyContin and other controlled substances for several of these patients without examining them. The Indictment charges that Solis and Fox told one patient, if questioned by investigators, to deny picking up controlled substances for other patients.
The Indictment of Solis and Fox is a result of a law enforcement initiative recently assembled by Governor Jeb Bush and various state officials to target pharmaceutical drug-related crimes across Florida. The initiative consists of Diversion Response Teams (DRTs), comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents. The DRTs are tasked to investigate state and federal violations by health care practitioners and providers, including doctors and pharmacies, which result in the fraudulent prescribing of controlled substances, such as OxyContin, the diversion of various prescriptions drugs from lawful channels of distribution, and the filing of fraudulent claims with the Florida Medicaid program to pay for the cost of filling unlawfully acquired prescriptions.
The DRTs are regionally based, located in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tallahassee. Participating law enforcement agencies include the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and various Florida sheriffs and city police departments.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the FDLE, MFCU, DEA, and City of Miami Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Steven LeClair and Ivonne Fleitas are prosecuting this case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .